Despite the town being in its second lockdown, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) has said that it will still put on its annual Remembrance service at the War Memorial in town, albeit on a far reduced scale.
A TWBC spokesperson revealed last Saturday, before the English lockdown was announced, that there would be a very small service on the morning of November 8 at 10.45am.
They added that it would be a low-key affair and there would be the opportunity for the general public to watch a live stream of it online.
However, following the announcement of a new lockdown at the weekend Council Leader Alan McDermott, said that doubt had been cast as to whether the event could go ahead given that TWBC ‘did not have guidance yet as to whether this may continue’.
But later this week, the Government then issued specific guidance advising Councils’ Remembrance services did not have to be cancelled.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “We are certainly not cancelling Remembrance Sunday events but we must be mindful of the risks such events pose, especially to veterans who are often elderly.
“What we are saying to local authorities in England is that they may organise remembrance services but they should be outside and social distance should be maintained.”
Unlike previous years, Sunday’s Memorial service at the Glorious Dead soldier statue in Civic Way will see just a short service with only a small number of invited guests attending, and there will be no singing, no march past, no uniformed groups such as Scouts and no Mayor’s reception.
Just two wreaths will be laid, one by the Mayor Joy Podbury, and the other by President of the Tunbridge Wells Branch of the Royal British Legion, David Wakefield.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will be live streaming the commemoration and is asking people to watch at home.
Mayor of Tunbridge Wells Joy Podbury said: “Paying our respects to those who lost their lives in the two World Wars and later conflicts is very important, and so it is with deep sadness that I am making this extraordinary request and asking people not to attend the service at the War Memorial this year.”
The Council is suggesting that people show their support by making donations to the Poppy Appeal online (www.britishlegion.org.uk/) and follow the suggestion of the Royal British Legion and display a poppy picture in their window.
As a mark of its respect, Arriva has adorned its buses in the town with special vinyl poppies and each one’s digital sign, which usually carry information on travel destinations, are currently carrying the ‘Lest We Forget’ slogan.
You can watch the live stream of the event, which will start at 10.45am on Sunday 8 November, on the Council’s website twbc.online/remembrance